Vijay Zol (centre) was in fine form against Mumbai © Getty Images (File Photo)
By Abhijit Banare
Mumbai: Jan 11, 2014
Maharashtra coach Surendra Bhave praised his players after they defeated Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 quarter-final on Saturday. It was the first time they have beaten Mumbai in a knockout game of the Ranji Trophy.
“It is an outstanding feeling to beat Mumbai in Mumbai and beating them in the knockout is even more special. All the credit goes to the players who have been outstanding. You are 122 down on a seamer friendly pitch, not many would have given a chance but it was a lion-hearted effort from the players and hats off to them,” Bhave said at the Wankhede Stadium.
Maharashtra were a wicket down at the end of Day Three and the match was hanging in balance. Bhave credited Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Zol for their unbeaten 215-run partnership. Jadhav scored 120 while Zol scored 91.
“Given the conditions, the match was in balance. I think Kedar [Jadhav] and Vijay [Zol] took the match away. First they soaked the pressure and took the match away.”
Bhave heaped praise on centurion Kedar Jadhav for shepherding a young Vijay Zol and showing his experience to plan the chase maturely. Bhave said, “I am sure he helped Vijay when he went after Nayar bowling outside off-stump. Kedar put him right and told him not go that wide and preserve his area of strokeplay. He has helped the other team members quietly in his own way. This year Kedar has showed he has matured much more to hold the batting together.”
About the young Zol, the coach said “I think he has got to take it slowly and not get too ahead of himself. Vijay being just 19 will help him a lot. By nature Vijay is an aggressive batsman. The fact that he had to leave a lot of balls in the morning showed his patience. When the bowlers bowl wicket to wicket he is good at playing them.”
He emphasised on the importance of winning every session. “If you see the session pie, four sessions were won in a row by Mumbai and five in arrow then by Maharashtra. So 5-4, there’s your winner. Winning five sessions together will make a miracle happen.”
Maharashtra were bowled out for 280 thereby, conceding a 122-run first innings lead. “I thought we could have taken their score much closer to the Mumbai total.
“Having said that, the bowlers hit the right areas. And I knew when the bowlers hit the right areas nicks are going to happen. So it was all about the catching.
“And that brought us back in the match. The lines held by the bowlers were very tight on off-stump. And they hardly anything to leave and they had to play. Since they had to play some of them were going to nick it and it was taken very well behind the wickets,” Bhave said.
When asked about the brilliant turnaround, Bhave added, “Most of them are brilliant individual players. Last season four or five batsmen were averaging about 50 in the Elite league. For those performances to come together and convert them into wins was important. That’s exactly what we have done so far and potentially there are two more matches to go and we want to play them well.”